An ethanol plant in Fort Dodge is being sold to agricultural giant Cargill, creating at least 100 jobs. The Minneapolis-based corporation is buying the Tate and Lyle’s ethanol plant for an undisclosed sum. Alan Willits , president of Cargill’s North American Corn Milling Division, says the Fort Dodge plant will be the company’s third wet-milling facility in Iowa, alongside those in Cedar Rapids and Eddyville.

“What we hope to do is use corn as the base ingredient and from that, be able to produce a number of biobased products,” Willits says. “Certainly, the first one will be in the form of ethanol that people in Iowa are very familiar with.” The existing plant has the ability to grind 150,000 bushels of corn per day and produce 115-million gallons of ethanol per year.

Willits says Cargill plans some modifications for the plant which may take 18 months-to-two years to complete. “We would envision a fair amount of construction-type jobs will be created, probably several hundred,” he says. “When we actually start operating the plant, that will be positive news for the community as we hope to add 100 or more teammates to the facility and provide a good opportunity for the local farmers.”

Cargill has 29 facilities in Iowa and employs more than 4,000 workers statewide. The announcement is welcome as today is the last day in business for the Electrolux plant in nearby Webster City, with the remaining 500 workers losing their jobs this afternoon.

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City